On 1 April this year, Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi proudly announced the defeat of a branch of the Islamic State (IS) in Sinai, following almost a decade of counter-terrorism operations by the Egyptian army.
In front of him was a massive line-up of construction equipment that took part in development projects in the northeastern Egyptian territory that shares borders with Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip.
"None other than the state will be allowed to possess arms," el-Sisi said emphatically to an audience of government officials, army commanders, MPs, and Sinai tribal chiefs east of the Suez Canal.
His remarks wind up almost a decade, during which Sinai, which comprises 6% of Egyptian territory, became a security threat to Egypt, the region and international trade.
This year, this region celebrates the anniversary of the 1973 October war victory over Israel, while terrorism is totally out of it, for the first time in 10 years.
End of an era
Neglected by successive Egyptian governments for decades, the Sinai was fertile ground for extremism to take root and grow.
This translated into an upsurge of terrorist attacks on Egyptian police, present in limited numbers in northern and central Sinai, especially after the 2011 ouster of Hosni Mubarak's regime.
These attacks were mainly staged by Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, a locally-grown group that became IS in November 2014.
Attacks by this group took many forms and ranged in ferocity from the most primitive to the most sophisticated.
In July 2015, hundreds of IS Sinai terrorists launched simultaneous attacks against 21 security positions in northern Sinai, killing dozens of troops.
The attacks were so terrifying that el-Sisi wore his military uniform and travelled to northern Sinai three days later to greet the troops who repelled the attacks.
The attacks gave insights into plans by the terrorist group to establish its own Islamic emirate in Sinai.